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Get to know W&M’s new graduate students

  • Students in suits sit at tables
    Welcome to W&M:  New Master of Business Administration students attend orientation.  Photo courtesy of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business
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William & Mary’s new undergraduate students may be moving into their residence halls today, but many of the university’s new graduate students have already begun their studies in an array of areas, from law to marine science.

The new graduate students come to W&M from locations across the globe and with a wealth of experience. They will join the university’s new undergraduates at next Wednesday’s Opening Convocation ceremony to officially kick off the academic year.

Arts & Sciences

This fall, 96 new students will be entering graduate programs in Arts & Sciences, including American studies, anthropology, applied science, biology, chemistry, computer science, computational operations research, history, physics, psychological sciences and public policy.

Seventy-seven percent of those students conducted research as undergraduates, with most receiving awards or honors for their scholarship. Approximately 72 percent have contributed to their communities through volunteer service, and more than 27 percent have been teachers or mentors to preschoolers through senior citizens.

Twenty-six percent of the entering Arts & Sciences graduate students self-identified as students of color, including international students from seven countries. Among the new students are a Muscogee indigenous researcher, a classically trained musician, an urban ecologist, a former high school physics teacher, a commercial photographer, a former volunteer at a Syrian refugee housing center in Germany and a national security intern with the U.S. Army.

Master of Business Administration

The William & Mary School of Business is welcoming 106 new Full-Time MBA students and 10 Major General James Wright Fellows. Women make up 31% of the group and 17% of the students are active military members or veterans.

Additionally, 36% percent of the group is made up of international students, representing 14 countries, including China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudia Arabian, Taiwan, United States and Vietnam. More than 12 of those students are corporate and government-sponsored candidates. Among students from the U.S., 30% are in-state residents.

The students boast an average GMAT score of 629 and have an average of 60 months of work experience.

Master of Science in Business Analytics

This year’s MSBA class is extremely qualified and comes from a number of diverse academic backgrounds. It includes students from the business disciplines as well as public policy, history, English, mechanical engineering, psychology, human resource management, biochemistry and physics.

There are a total of 88 students in the program this year. 70% are from the U.S. and 30% are from international locations. Countries represented are Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia, Panama, Lebanon, Israel, India, Honduras, Ethiopia, China and Belgium. The average GPA is 3.5. 68% of the students are male, 32% are female and 24% are students of color.

Master of Accounting

There are 80 students in total enrolling in the MAcc program in 2019 (70 fall cohort, 10 spring cohort). The group is 85% domestic and 15% international. Countries represented include China, Great Britain, Ghana, India, Indonesia and South Korea. The class is 55% male, 45% female and 37% students of color. The average GPA is 3.4.

The Class of 2020 is well represented across academic disciplines. Fifty percent are accounting majors and the other half come from various business backgrounds, as well as the fine arts, linguistics, history, government, international relations, political science, public administration, risk management, security and sociology.

Flex MBA

The fall 2019 Flex MBA cohort includes 45 area professionals who boast a mean undergraduate GPA of 3.31 and an average of seven years of professional experience. Primary geographic representation includes Richmond, the Greater Hampton Roads Peninsula and cities on the Southside, including Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Five students are entering the program through the Flex FastStart non-degree option, which allows interested students to “test drive” the program before deciding to officially apply, and three students are professionals at William & Mary.

The Flex MBA Program is taught weekday evenings at the William & Mary Peninsula Center in Newport News, and 48% of the incoming cohort is made up of women. International influences include Sudan, Nigeria and South Korea, and students of color make up approximately 22 percent of the group.

The students represent 28 different companies and 15 industries and include companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Sentara Healthcare, the Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Canon Virginia, and three branches of the United States military. A sampling of industries includes management consulting, financial services, city and state governments, K-12 education, manufacturing, retail, and transportation and logistics.

Executive MBA

The next Executive MBA cohort will enter its program in January of 2020.  Incoming cohorts typically include about 30 executive leaders with an average of 17 years of work experience — 15 of which is managerial. The January 2019 cohort had an average age of 41 and average incoming salary of $123,000. Executive MBA students attend classes on campus Fridays and Saturdays every other week and complete two required one-week domestic residencies in Williamsburg and Washington, D.C. and two 10-day international residencies in China and South America.

Students hail from a radius of about 200 miles of Hampton Roads, including locations as far away as Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Applications for the program’s Class of 2021, which will begin in January 2020, are due Sept. 15.

Online programs

Online programs at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business continue to thrive. The programs have grown to 316 students who hail from 29 states.

The Online MBA program is beginning its fifth year by welcoming 59 new students this fall. Thirty-seven percent are women, and 25% are students of color from the United States. The students average nine years of professional work experience and represent 47 companies. Twenty percent have already earned an advanced degree, including Doctorate of Philosophy, Juris Doctorate and Doctorate of Medicine.

The Mason School is also pleased to welcome a new class that will be kicking off the second academic year for the Online Master of Science in Business Analytics program. Twenty-six students will begin the program on Aug. 26. The students average seven years of work experience and represent 21 companies. Thirty-four percent of the class has already earned an advanced degree. Students of color from the U.S. make up 38% of the class.

Online programs at the Mason School accept new students in the fall, spring and summer.


In the W&M School of Education, 292 students are expected to enroll this fall in master’s and doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, school psychology and K-12 and higher education administration.

Fifty-two percent will study full-time with the remainder pursuing online or on-campus programs as part-time students. The average age is 31, and 26% are students of color.

Among enrolling students, the average undergraduate GPA is 3.4, and the average graduate GPA is 3.76. The average GRE verbal percentile is 69th for the group, and the average MAT percentile is 71st.

Eighty-two percent of students are pursuing master’s degrees, 14% pursuing doctorates and 4% are pursuing educational specialist degrees.

In the past year, the Online M.Ed. in Counseling, the school’s first completely online program, launched with concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. This fall, a military and veterans counseling track will join the slate of offerings. So far, 96 students have enrolled from locations around the country.

The school’s Executive Ed.D. program has also expanded, welcoming its first cohort of higher education students this summer. Through this hybrid program, working professionals can achieve a doctoral degree in as few as three years while continuing to work. 

This fall, the school has record enrollment in the School Psychology program, which recently achieved NASP accreditation. The innovative three-year program allows students to attain both a master’s and educational specialist degree, as well as preparation for licensure in Virginia.

New graduate students in the School of Education take a selfie together as part of a scavenger hunt during orientation. (Photo courtesy of the W&M School of Education)
Juris Doctor

The J.D. Class comprises 240 students from 42 states, the District of Columbia and citizenship in six countries. Two students hold dual citizenship. Following Virginia, the most represented states are New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Texas.

Fifty-one percent of students self-identified as women and 49% as men, and 41 (17 percent) as students of color. Thirty-five are first-generation college students.

Matriculants to the first-year class have a median undergraduate GPA of 3.76 and a median LSAT score of 163 (87th percentile). They reported undergraduate majors in almost all disciplines, most prominently in political science, history, English, economics and philosophy. Sixteen members of the class have graduate degrees. Twenty-six have been honored with membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Many have global interests and speak multiple languages. Fifty-five members of the class have participated in study-abroad programs in 28 countries.

One-hundred and seventy students have internship experience throughout the United States and around the world. Of the 240 students, 132 (55 percent) join the Law School with full-time work experience. Many have served as legislative aides, legal assistants, paralegals and teachers.

Four members of the new class have served in the military within the U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. Two are attending law school through the Funded Legal Education Program. Their honors and awards include achievement and humanitarian service medals.

Students bring a wealth of experiences through service organizations, including AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps Project Homecoming, Peace Corps, and Teach For America. The new students also include varsity athletes as well as actors, dancers and musicians.

In addition to the J.D. Class of 2022, two transfer and two visiting students are joining the upper classes.

Master of Laws

The Law School also welcomes new students in the Master of Laws program, which serves students who have received their legal training outside of the United States.

The LL.M. degree program welcomes 39 new students for the fall term from the following countries:  China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Taiwan. Twenty-seven of the students are women, and 84% are students of color.

Marine Science

Twenty-one new students will begin pursuing graduate studies in marine science this fall: 16 in master’s degree programs and five doctoral students. Nineteen of the students are women, and two are men.

The students hold undergraduate degrees from 16 different states. Their previous experiences include investigating coastal dune lakes for the Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute, serving as a conservation intern at the National Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, coordinating the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee at the Chesapeake Research Consortium, and teaching high school while owning a company that provides science, math and Spanish courses.

VIMS' 2019 matriculating class: From L:  Row 1 (seated): Kaitlyn Clark, Kayla Cahoon, Alexis Hollander, Christina Rarick, Abby Golder. Row 2: Evan Flynn, Rachel Dixon, Alex Challen Hyman, Shannon Smith, Ashley King, Savannah Mapes, Emily Goetz. Row 3: Luke Frankel, Elisa Aitoro, Alexandra Schneider, Malina Loeher, Xuqing Chen, Taylor Walker. (VIMS photo)